ARTA trying to be reasonable

To the editor:

I would like to respond to Michael McNulty’s recent Guest Commentary, “ARTA wants corridor for one use only” (May 25), portraying Adirondack Recreational Trail Advocates and its board members as insulting, unreasonable, misleading, “one-sided” in their promotion of a recreational trail, and disrespectful of the Adirondack Scenic Railroad and its supporters.

ARTA’s primary objective, from the beginning, has been to facilitate good public policy with respect to the Remsen-Lake Placid rail line. This debate is not about whether or not we “like the Adirondack Scenic Railroad.” The real question is how best to use this state-owned corridor, most of which is now non-functional for rail service and abandoned except for a few months of winter snowmobile use that is severely compromised by rail-related hazards.

We have tried to make this a reasoned debate, presenting extensive credible evidence that a recreational trail along this corridor would boost tourism and benefit residents and the region’s economy more than restoration of train service, at a much lower cost.

We have proposed that both sides of this debate make our case to a review committee from the state departments of Transportation and Environmental Conservation, and the Adirondack Park Agency. After careful scrutiny and extensive public input, these three state entities, under a long-established process involving a corridor management plan, can then determine the best future use of this rail bed through the Adirondacks.

We will respect and support whatever decision results from that review, even if the decision is that that there will be no recreational trail connecting towns and villages along the corridor.

The response thus far from rail advocates has been to reject a state review.

Joe Mercurio, president

Adirondack Recreational Trail Advocates

Saranac Lake